Sunday, October 21 , 2018, 11:48 pm | Fair 61º


Ninth Suspect Charged in Santa Maria Homicide

Verenisa Castillo Aviles
Verenisa Castillo Aviles

A ninth suspect has been arrested in connection with the homicide of Santa Maria man Anthony Ibarra, whose body was found in a rental truck in Orcutt March 19.

Santa Maria police were called to the 1100 block of Donovan Road March 18 after a citizen reported a possible violent crime at a residence there, Lt. Kim Graham has said.

The investigation continued into the next day, when Santa Barbara County sheriff’s personnel found the vehicle believed to be involved in Orcutt, and Ibarra’s body was discovered inside.

Police have made multiple arrests, with the assistance of the FBI, and have now charged seven people with murder.

Verenisa Castillo Aviles, 19, of Santa Maria, was arrested Monday on an unrelated matter, and had additional charges associated with Ibarra’s killing added on Tuesday, Graham said.

Aviles is charged with murder and a gang enhancement, and was being held on a no-bail warrant at the County Jail.

Six other people, all alleged gang members, have been charged with first-degree murder and numerous special allegations, including kidnapping, lying in wait, torture and gang enhancements.

The six — Anthony Jesus Solis, 28, David Murillo Maldonado Jr., 55, Manuel Santos Santos, 33, Ramon David Maldonado, 37, Reyes Gonzales Jr., 42, and Robert Stan Sosa, 19 — could face the death penalty or life in prison without possibility of parole if convicted.

Several of them also face allegations that they have numerous prior felony convictions.

Two other people — Carmen Danielle Cardenas, 28, and Pedro Torres Jr., 54 — are charged with being accessories after the fact for allegedly hiding at least one of the murder suspects, and with committing crimes for the benefit of a street gang.

Police Chief Ralph Martin said the slaying was carried out by “very violent street-gang members” and that Ibarra, 28, appears to have been tortured for two or three hours. Ibarra died of a stab wound, according to an autopsy, and authorities have yet to offer a possible motive for the killing. They do say it was carried out for the benefit of the Sureno criminal street gang.

Ibarra was known to the suspects, but police have said they can’t confirm whether he was a member of a street gang.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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